Senatorial By-Elections Pushed to June 26?
Monrovia – FrontPageAfrica has gathered that the National Elections Commission (NEC) has suggested through a written to the Legislature a new date for the conduct of the pending senatorial by-election in Bong and Montserrado Counties.
Report by Henry Karmo, [email protected]
Sources hinted FrontPageAfrica that the NEC has recommended June 26, 2018 for the conduct of the election. This suggestion, according to our source, was made few weeks ago, but the Legislature is yet to act on it.
“We cannot go ahead and set the date because you know elections date are constitutional so it is the Legislature who is supposed to amend the law and set a new date for the election, but what we have done as the implementing body – we have only suggested date and that day is June 26, so we cannot go ahead with anything else if the date is not finalized,” an NEC source told this paper.
Constitutionally, the senatorial by-election should be held on May 8, 2018, but the date wouldn’t be possible for the by-election due to the inadequate financing leading to poor preparations.
14 candidates already obtaining form
Fourteen aspirants have obtained nomination forms from the NEC to contest the upcoming by-election. Seven of the 14 aspirants are independent while the others are affiliated with political parties including Unity Party and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).
Debate over budget
It remains uncertain how much funds would be made available for the NEC for the conduct of the by-election. The Minister of Finance on March 16, described as unrealistic the US$3.9 million budget set by the NEC for the conduct of the by-election in the two counties. Minister Tweah said he is confident that the NEC can work with US$1.2 million,
Addressing journalists at the Ministry of Information press briefing on Friday, March 16 Finance Minister Samuel Tweah indicated that the Ministry of Finance will rigorously scrutinize every budget emanating from all government’s spending entities.
“To spend money on election that is not necessary is like taking away money from John F. Kennedy Hospital,” Minister Tweah said.
“To have US$3.9 million on election is not going to happen,” Minister Tweah added.
He argued that NEC already has trained staffs that are capable of conducting the by-elections, citing the experience they have acquired during the 2017 election.
“So, my budget people have worked and they think that US$1.2 million can hold the elections. Some estimates say US$1.5 million should be (able to hold the elections), but we are going to have a discussion with the National Elections Commission and we are going to say this is the pro-poor election budget,” Finance Minister Tweah stated.
The NEC Chairman, Cllr. Jerome Korkoya reacted angrily, stating on state radio that Korkoya the Finance Minister “was barking like a German shepherd dog”.